American Verses Virtual Festival

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American Verses Virtual Festival

Feb 21-25, 2022

Join us for a week-long celebration of our stories through the arts. Exploring the art and stories of Terry Adkins, Mark Bradford, and Kerry James Marshall featured in the American Verses exhibition, we will learn how our lives and experiences can be expressed through any form of art you choose.


Schedule of Events

Monday, Feb 21

Day One: The Art

Begin the week by viewing the American Verses exhibition video below to see the art and get know the artists: Terry Adkins, Mark Bradford, Kerry James Marshall. The artists featured in American Verses use visual art as their main expression but implore the use of storytelling, music, and movement to help inspire and inform their work. Throughout the festival, interact with these art forms to explore both the artists’ and your own personal stories. The following activities are in a suggested order, however, feel free to use them in a way that best fits your classroom.

2 pm - 4 pm: In-person Workshops available in the Gilmore Auditorium


Tuesday, Feb 22

Day Two: The Artist and Identity

Students will explore the creative process used by the artists featured in American Verses: Terry Adkins, Mark Bradford, and Kerry James Marshall. (This activity is approximately 30 mins)

Download Lesson Plan (.pdf)


Wednesday, Feb 23

Day Three: What is Poetry?

The title, “American Verses”, refers to the literature that each artist used to inspire their art. Artists in this exhibition pulled from various types of writing including Greek mythology, novels, and plays to help tell their story through art. Students will watch TED Ed video comparing poetry and rap verses. Students will choose a style, traditional poetry or rap, and write their own verse."

Watch Mark Bradford's Wild Wild West poetic rant to hear an example of poetic verse paired with the artist's creative style.

Proud of your verse? Share it with us! Teachers and students, email a copy or picture of your verse to Everley Davis or share it on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #americanverses.

Download activity (.pdf)

Virtual Artist Discussion 

Featuring Debra Hand, Tsehaye Hebert, and Preston Jackson

Learn about the artists

Debra Hand

Tsehaye Hebert

Preston Jackson


Thursday, Feb 24

Day Four: American Voices (featuring original performance piece by Chicago poet and artist K Love.)


Friday, Feb 25

Day Five: Inspired Innovation

Click below for an exhibition-inspired video from Hiplet

Screen Shot 2022 02 16 At 3.56.17 Pm

More to come!


In-Person Event 

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Performing Arts Night 

Friday, Feb 25 | 5 pm-7 pm

Join us for the conclusion of the festival in-person at the museum! The party will include live performances by War, food and drinks, and video screenings from the festival. All galleries will be open for guests to experience.

Click HERE to register for the party!


Additional Resources

American Verses inspired the verses of the following original songs by Peoria rap artist War, that shares the story of each artist through music.

Art is Alive (Terry Adkins) 50 Shades of Paper (Mark Bradford),  Our Town (Kerry James Marshall)

Video - "Our Town"

Lesson Plan - "Our Town"

Please share photos and videos with us on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #americanverses or email Everley Davis .


Thank you to Art Bridges for their generous contributions to make this festival possible.